Darrick’s Geothermal Adventure

Darrick is a buddy from up in Rochester. He’s doing something which is the heart and soul of blogging. He’s taking a minor adventure from his life, and chronicling it for the people who care:

I’d like to take a week or two to blog about our experience with researching, and deciding to go with geothermal, and show the process of installing the system. I’ll be posting the numbers that I came up with which showed why geothermal made sense in our case.

There’s two kinds of folks who care – there’s me and the rest of his friends. We want to know what’s happening in Darrick’s life. We care what Darrick is doing because he is our buddy and we bond with people by knowing and talking about our lives. That’s the ambient communication that bonds people over time, and something the internet is good at enabling for folks who don’t live in close proximity anymore.

The other audience is people who are looking for info on geothermal. Darrick talks about how he chose a contractor for his project and how he calculated the payback on geothermal. Darrick’s way of breaking down the numbers is very useful.

According to all of the estimates our calculated payback time was about 5-7 years, with an annual savings of about 60-70% our existing heating cost. This was assuming that heating oil prices continued to rise, the heat load calculations were accurate, electricity prices continued to increase at the historical rate, and the historical weather patterns continued. These calculations assumed that I was replacing an existing heating system, which I wasn’t. None of the calculations used the cost of borrowing the money, and the cost of repairing the lawn after the job was completed. After adding in these additional factors, and removing the replacement cost of existing heater I came up with a more accurate payback time of about 9-10 years. This was still a worthwhile payback as we were planning on living in this house for at least 20 years. After 25 years it was estimated we will have saved about $100k (assuming oil prices continue to rise). Considering these savings, and the addition of air conditioning to our house, geothermal seemed like a great investment!

Here is giving other people the factors he considered and the way he justified the decision. That’s useful and it’s good for people who he might never even meet. This is the great sort of thing that delicious revealed back when it first started. Lots of people aggregating things just for themselves produces a resource that is greater than the sum of its tiny little parts. Like a nation, or a blogosphere, or a person, or a mind…

But wait, there's more

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